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2/13/2006 4:24:04 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Alaska--Letters Needed to Oppose Compulsory Attendance Age Bill

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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February 13, 2006

Dear HSLDA members and friends:

After hearing comments from Alaska citizens last Thursday on House
Bill 345, the House Education Committee decided to place this bill on
hold until additional information could be received. This bill would
raise the compulsory school attendance age from 16 to 17.

Homeschoolers in Alaska are exempt from attending public schools, but
parents are required to conduct home instruction until the child
reaches age 16. If this bill passes, parents will be required to
conduct home instruction for an additional year in order to remain
exempt from public school attendance. As freedom-loving homeschoolers,
we oppose any effort to expand the state's control over education in
any form.

Thanks to all of you who called members of the committee expressing
your opposition to this bill. Unfortunately, this bill is not dead and
is still a danger. That's why it's important that you take time to
express your opposition to this bill in writing, preferably by regular
mail instead of email. Regular mail is the most effective form of
communication to a legislator.

ACTION REQUESTED:

1. Please write as many members of the House Education Committee as
possible with this message:

"Please vote against House Bill 345 which would raise Alaska's
compulsory school attendance age. This bill restricts the right of
parents to choose educational or work options for their children. This
bill will also waste taxpayer dollars in requiring the attendance of
students who are unwilling to remain in school."

When writing members of the committee, do not identify yourself as a
homeschooler. This is broader than just a homeschooling issue.

The members of the House Education Committee are as follows:

Mark Neuman, Chairman (R)
Alaska State Capitol
Room 432
Juneau, AK 99801
(907) 465-2679
Representative_Mark_Neuman@legis.state.ak.us

Carl Gatto (R)
Alaska State Capitol
Room 411
Juneau, AK 99801
(907) 465-3743
Representative_Carl_Gatto@legis.state.ak.us

Bob Lynn (R)
Alaska State Capitol
Room 415
Juneau, AK 99801
(907) 465-4931
Representative_Bob_Lynn@legis.state.ak.us

Bill Thomas (R)
Alaska State Capitol
Room 438
Juneau, AK 99801
(907) 465-3732
Representative_Bill_Thomas@legis.state.ak.us

Peggy Wilson
Alaska State Capital
Room 108
(907) 465-3824
Representative_Peggy_Wilson@legis.state.ak.us

Les Gara (D)
Alaska State Capitol
Room 418
Juneau, AK 99801
(907) 465-2647
Representative_Les_Gara@legis.state.ak.us

Woodie Salmon (D)
Alaska State Capitol
Room 114
Juneau, AK 99801
(907) 465-4527
Representative_Woodie_Salmon@legis.state.ak.us

2. Please forward this email to every family you know who is not a
member of HSLDA and urge them to contact members of the committee.

BACKGROUND:

> Raising the compulsory attendance age will not reduce the dropout
rate. In fact, the two states with the best high school completion
rates, Maryland at 94.5% and North Dakota at 94.7%, compel attendance
only to age 16. The state with the lowest completion rate (Oregon:
75.4%) compels attendance to age 18. (Figures are three year averages,
1996 through 1998.)

> Twenty-nine states only require attendance to age 16. Older children
unwilling to learn can cause classroom disruptions and even violence,
making learning harder for their classmates who truly want to learn.

> It would restrict parents' freedom to decide if their 16-year-old is
ready for college or the work force. Some 16-year-olds who are not
academically inclined benefit more from valuable work experience than
from being forced to sit in a classroom.

> Another significant impact of expanding the compulsory attendance
age would be an inevitable tax increase to pay for more classroom
space and teachers to accommodate the additional students compelled to
attend public schools. When California raised the age of compulsory
attendance, unwilling students were so disruptive that new schools had
to be built just to handle them and their behavior problems, all at
the expense of the taxpayer.

To view the text of this bill, please go to
http://www.legis.state.ak.us/PDF/24/Bills/HB0345A.PDF

For more information on compulsory attendance, please see our
memorandum at http://www.hslda.org/docs/nche/000010/200205130.asp

Please write today!


Sincerely,

Dewitt T. Black, III
HSLDA Senior Counsel

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